Friday, October 24, 2014

Crisis of Serenity



NOTE:

My review will post soon.



Blurb:

Tess Copeland lives a quiet life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thanks to the government’s witness protection program, she enjoys the freedom of never having to glance over her shoulder to see if someone is following her. Life has become safe, serene...and boring. Her heart longs for something more than just existing...until a ghost from her past shatters her serenity.

Once upon a time, Tess was caught between the FBI and the men the feds were trying to take down. Jake Coleman is the U.S. Marshal who extracted her from the jam she was in with the FBI, a man she could have fallen for...hard...if she had let herself. It’s been a year since she last saw Jake, and in all the months that have passed, he’s never tried to find her. The longer he keeps his distance, the more she wonders why his absence hurts so much.

When a stranger comes to town searching for her, all of Tess’ old fears are resurrected. Asking Jake for help with her current crisis might lure him into a dangerous trap involving murder, kidnapping, and revenge. When Jake and Tess come face-to-face with the past, they will have to use all their wits to survive.




Excerpt:


The late afternoon sun warmed my face as I trudged down the street toward the trolley stop. The atmosphere held the pleasant promise of fall and color. I arrived in Tennessee last year just as the trees were turning gold, crimson, orange, and yellow, a gorgeous autumn. I hadn’t yet had the chance to indulge in a trip into the mountains, something I longed to do, but I didn’t own a car. That’s why I had to bum a ride to work every morning. The trolley didn’t start running until eight, sometimes ten, depending on what time of year it was.
Autumn had turned to a hard winter last year. The necessities of settling into a new life had consumed my waking moments until the first hard freeze. The ground had frozen and so had my heart. That’s when my thoughts had turned toward Trevor again. Snowbound landscapes always reminded me of him. His memory heated my core, and I wished with all my heart he hadn’t left me cold.
I missed him, missed him like crazy. As good as I was at running, he was even better at leaving. The last time was more than I could take, and I’d asked my handler to move me out of Arizona. No, more like begged him to send me somewhere else—anywhere Trevor would have a hard time finding me.
We were no good for each other.
I’d had too many men in my life tell me they cared only to take what they wanted and then leave me with nothing but loneliness and pain. My relationship with Trevor had developed so fast, and I had assumed he was no different than any other man.
I was wrong.
He was different, but his differences were not enough to keep him by my side when he had the urge to indulge in adventure wherever he could find it. He was a private investigator, a bounty hunter, and a solver of mysteries, and he couldn’t be tied to one spot too long. When I first went into witness protection, he stayed three months with me in Tucson and then one night he left without saying goodbye. I ranted and raved, then settled down into being a single, pseudo-mother for Joyce, my sister’s child. When Trevor had showed up at my front door four months later, I let him in, hoping he was back to stay.
I was wrong again.
I pulled my mind back to the present. With the advent of spring, my heart had thawed a bit. Then right before tourist season kicked in, I took the job at Sadie’s. Summer kept me hopping from one Hiker’s Breakfast Plate to the next with no time to dwell on what pained me. Autumn had made an appearance after the last cold snap. My favorite season. This year, the expectation of crisp days and cold nights failed to cheer me. All the vibrancy drained from me when I recalled the police officer at the stoplight and the icy cold stare as his eyes met mine across the roadway.
What was Iverson doing here? How had he gotten another job in law enforcement?
I glanced over my shoulder. No one trailed me down the street. At least, I didn’t think so. Was that man staring at me? Did that car slow as it passed? Was there a hint of malice in the air?












Author Bio:  

Want to know a little bit more about Denise? She's a Southern girl who has lived in Louisiana all her life, and yes, she has a drawl. She has a wonderful husband and two incredible children, who not only endure her writing moods, but also encourage her to indulge her writing passion. Besides writing romantic suspense, she enjoys traveling, reading, and scrapbooking.

Accounting is a skill she has learned to earn a little money to support her writing habit. She wrote her first story when she was a teen, seventeen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she had read. She's been writing off and on ever since, and with more than a few full-length manuscripts already completed, she has no desire to slow down.

You can connect with Denise at
http://www.denisemoncrief.com
http://www.facebook.com/DeniseMoncriefAuthor
http://www.twitter.com/dmoncrief0131
http://www.amazon.com/author/denisemoncrief



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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Release Blast: Two Blue Lines


Release day for Two Blue Lines

by SC Montgomery!

It's finally here! Two Blue Lines, SC Montgomery’s first novel in her new Crossing the Lines series, is available for purchase!

Genre: Young Adult

Release Date: October 23rd




Blurb for Two Blue Lines (Crossing the Line, Book #1):

His fear . . . Her secrets . . . Their choice.

What if the only girl you’ve ever loved lied to you?

Lied to everyone?

Those two blue lines changed everything for Reed Young and Melissa Summers. In more ways than one.

And now, he must decide for himself . . .

Man up or walk away?


SC Montgomery has created an emotional tale of first love, difficult choices, and impossible secrets.  A deliciously angsty debut you need to read for yourself.


***Reader Warning*** Two Blue Lines is the emotional, honest story of two teenagers whose lives are about to change forever.  While not glorified, or portrayed in detail, there are themes of sexual assault and teen pregnancy, as well as allusions to teenage drinking and some foul language.  It is all meant to create an honest, relevant novel, but please be aware and read only if you’re comfortable.

Buy at Amazon
Buy at Barnes&Noble
Review Rating: 4 LIGHTNING BOLTS

Review:  At the age of sixteen, it's all about first loves. Enjoying high school. Fun.  Sixteen is far too young to have to grow up and make adult decisions. Yet here stands Reed and Melissa, two young teenagers who have to decide about their future.

Two Blue Lines is an emotional packed, riveting story of love and life.  I was glued to the pages as I just needed to know how these two were going to work things out. Having a baby at sixteen isn't ideal, but things happen.

I applaud Reed. Melissa is pretty certain on what she does and doesn't want, and Reed's never ending love for her helps him to become a man and do the best he can for her and his newfound family. There's ups and downs in this story. Times I laughed, times I cried.

Two Blue Lines is a story that tugs on the reader's heartstrings. Situations like this doesn't always turn out with a happy ending, but there are those few instances where love conquers all, no matter the age or situation.  I'm eagerly looking forward to the next in the Crossing the Line series, and hoping to catch up with Reed and Melissa in the future!


***


Excerpt:

Tears filled her eyes, reflecting the kaleidoscope of colors from the sky above. “I don’t know what I’d do if I ever lost you.”

I scooted over and pulled her close. “Why would you lose me?” Okay, sure, I’d had the fleeting thought of running for the hills, but I’d never leave her. Baby or not. My heart was too fully invested. God, didn’t she realize she was the first girl I’d ever kissed? She was the first person I thought about in the morning, the person I wanted to call when I was happy, when I was bummed . . . Melissa Summers had become my everything since I laid eyes on her in that middle school cafeteria. I couldn’t think of one single solitary thing that could make me leave her now. Besides, I had a responsibility to this baby.

She threw her arms around my neck and her tears soaked through my T-shirt. “What if you decided you hated me or the baby? What if . . . ?” She choked on a sob as I squeezed and shushed her.

“It’s okay, Mel. I’m not leaving you, and I could never hate you. Never. Or the baby. How could I?” I stroked her back as the fireworks popped furiously above us in a resounding finale.

It finally grew quiet, the smoke from the show settling down over the water, people around us mumbling and picking up their chairs. I continued to hold her, my eyes straying to a couple holding hands as they strolled, another not holding hands, not touching, obvious tension shimmering between them as they towed a fussy toddler. My heart ached that I couldn’t do more to ease her. “God, Mel, I love you so much,” I whispered, wishing she’d believe me. Wondering why she’d suddenly doubt. We may be in a heap of trouble, but I never wanted to lose the spark that made us. Even at sixteen, I knew it was special.

She finally pulled back and looked up into my eyes. I used the pad of my thumb to wipe the tears from her cheeks. She simply stared for several moments. We said nothing. I let her look. Maybe she’d find whatever reassurance she was seeking. Then, gently, her eyes slipped down to my mouth. I leaned in and kissed her, giving her all the love, all the promises, all the comfort I had.

And all the hope.

***





SC Montgomery is a self-proclaimed nerd and readaholic.  She has dabbled in telling stories since she was very young by letting her imagination play out with her Barbie dolls and her bestie many a weekend.  She also writes Contemporary adult romance under the pen name Shauna Allen, and it was in one of those novels that the YA bug bit when she wrote in a teenager loosely based on her own son.  Her first story, The Summer of Lettie, was penned as a gift for her mother, but was published with her blessing, and it’s just taken off from there.

SC is married with three teenagers of her own, who give her plenty of inspiration and advice, and are a constant source of laughter and new terminology.  Besides writing, she loves reading, movies, singing and dancing reality shows and going to the beach.

You can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/RLQQz









Praise for Two Blue Lines:

An emotionally intense story about two teens having to grow up way before their time . . . Hard to put down, this story will stay with you for a long time.
-New York Times bestselling author C.C. Hunter


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Last Glass

The Last Glass

by T. M. Lazar

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Synopsis:

Tori Knight moves to a small New York town where things aren't always what they seem. Though reluctant to leave her old life behind, she meets new friends, and falls for a guy.
Crispin DeMortimer is the most popular boy at Grimmsburg High. He had a summer fling with Natalia, the rich doctor's daughter, and also heir to a secret society. However, when he sees Tori for the first time, he feels an instant connection with her, one he has never felt before. Lucky for him, Tori feels the same. It's the start of a new chapter, for both Tori and Crispin, and Grimmsburg, NY is where untold secrets will be revealed, and challenges beyond anyone's imagination will be brought forth. Will the secrets of Grimmsburg bring Tori and Crispin together, or will these life changing secrets be too much for them both? This is book one in the series The Creatures of Grimmsburg by T.M. Lazar.

Buy Links:

***Will be live on all other platforms soon***

Excerpts:

#1

This dream was different. I saw Crispin. I actually saw him! I was wearing a red gown.
“You look lovely.” Crispin said, as he held out his hand for me to take.
“Thank you.” I took his hand in mine. I let him lead me out onto a balcony.
I noticed Crispin was wearing a suit that was dark red velvet. My breath caught as saw the view. It was incredible; the moon shined brightly on us, I watched the shadows dance around. Within all the beauty, there was something very wrong about being here. Deep down I knew it was something bad. I just didn’t know what exactly.
I looked up into his beautiful face and asked, “Crispin, why are we here?” I did my best to keep my voice steady as I spoke.
Letting go of my hand he sighed. “This is an amazing view, isn’t it?” I let out a sigh and nodded. He continued, “However, that’s not why I brought you here.”
My voice shook as I spoke, “Crispin?”
He smiled, “I’m terribly sorry that it has to be this way, Tori.” My heart started to race as I caught the sight of his fangs glistening in the moonlight. I covered my mouth and shook my head.
“No!” Crispin laughed at my denial. “No. No.” he stopped laughing as he stared at me. There was no more emotion left in his face, only hunger, in his red eyes.
I screamed, as I ran away from the balcony. I screamed for help, but no one heard me. I glanced over my shoulder to see Crispin was no longer on the balcony. I was startled and fell, as I came face to face with Crispin. I was terrified. I scrambled away from, him but he walked faster. Crispin bent down and picked me up. He held me by the throat. Hot tears rolled down my cheeks. “Please don’t, Crispin.” I whimpered. His grip loosened, he tilted my head to expose my neck even more. “Please, no.” I pleaded. Crispin just smiled. Then he sank his fangs into my throat. I screamed.
“Tori, Tori, Tori wake up!” Sophie shook me. My eyes popped open. I sat up and brought my hands to my throat. Tears stung my eyes. My breathing was rapid. Finally, it slowed. Sophie looked at me, terrified. “Are you okay?” She reached out to touch my arm and I flinched.
I dropped my hands into my lap. I shook my head, “a nightmare, a real bad one.”
 #2
What stopped me was her! Beautiful long honey brown hair and those eyes! Man, she was smoking hot. She had on a tight blue top that made her tits look awesome. As I kept running my eyes down her body, I saw the faded skinny jeans that molded to her curves perfectly. And fuck, she had to have on cowboy boots. I have a thing for chicks in cowboy boots! I ran my eyes back up her incredible body and she caught me staring.
A smile came across her face as the blood crept into her cheeks. She looked away slowly, then back to me. I watched as she slowly lifted her head and our eyes met again and my breath caught. I have to know her! As we continue to stare at each other, I could feel my teeth throb from the pain of my fangs wanting to elongate. This feeling felt intense, I never felt like this before, I wanted her to be mine! I wanted to claim her as my own I would to protect her. I wanted to… Where the hell were these thoughts coming from?
“Crispin? Are you okay?” Carly waved her hand in my face. When I snapped out of whatever just happened I looked at Carly, “What?” I asked annoyed. “You were…” Carly trailed off as she looked at the girl, “Oh my God,” Carly whispered. What did Carly know that I didn’t? I looked back at the girl. Who was she, and why am I feeling things for her?

Teasers:

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 About the Author:

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T.M. Lazar lives in upstate NY. She started writing her debut novel, The Last Glass, at the age of 16. At the age of 19, she made her dream a reality. She was signed by Entertwine Publishing. Along with writing, she is an avid reader, and loves to spend time with her family and friends, camping, swimming, drawing, dancing, and just hanging out! She will also be starting college soon, and majoring in Liberal Arts and Literature.

Social media links:

Other books, coming soon by T.M. Lazar

Cover Reveal: Here/Now

Join our Royal Celebration with the Cover Reveal
for HERE/NOW by D.D. Lorenzo

HERE/NOW Book 3 of the Depth of Emotion Series


Carter Sinclair…
He’s gone home.
He’s assessed mistakes.
He’s risen from the ashes.


Carter was a “rules” kind of guy. He worked and believed in the system, but the system was unjust. His wife is dead, his brother tragically injured, and an innocent woman paid for the sins of another. Assessing his life, he determines that deceit and lies no longer have a place there. He’s lived in the darkness of his own despair, and watched evil corrupt the lives of those he loves. His intent is to destroy it.
What he didn’t expect was something beautiful to emerge from the darkness...
Regret lives in the past.
Hope lives in the future.
Reality is the present.


Here/Now
is the struggle.


Is it possible that tragic circumstances can birth the most unexpected blessings?


Add it to your Goodreads Book shelf by clicking below:


dd

DD Lorenzo is a modern-day storyteller. Her novels reach deep into the heart of readers and engage them through the emotions of her characters. DD resides in Maryland, The Land of Pleasant Living. She met the love of her life in high school and decided to look no further. Together, they have an eclectic and amazing family. When she isn’t writing stories of the impassioned lives of her characters, she is rooting for the Baltimore Ravens or the Baltimore Orioles. Her favorite pastimes include spending time with the wonderful people in her life and riding in her husband’s classic Mustang to the Eastern Shore. “Selective/Memory” is Book 2 in The “Depth of Emotion” Series. It is the conclusion to the cliffhanger “Positive/Negativity” (she promises!). There are five books planned for the series. Book 3, “Here/Now” will be centered on character Carter Sinclair, a fan favorite. “Here/Now” is planned for release Fall, 2014.





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Highland Wolf Pact





Sibyl Blackthorne isn’t afraid of anything—except maybe being sold into marriage to a man she doesn’t love. A man she’s never even met. A man who, by reputation, is one of Scotland’s cruelest lairds in over a century.

But what choice does she have, with her father dead and her uncle now married to his brother’s widow, putting him in charge of not only the Blackthorne fortune, but Sibyl’s future as well?

Then her betrothed turns out to actually be far worse than his reputation, so headstrong Sibyl decides life as a peasant, or even death, would be preferable to a future with such a despicable man, and makes plans to run away.

On an organized hunt for wolves—or, as the Scots call them, wulvers—Sybil escapes her fiancĂ©’s clutches, only to find she’s run into something far more untamed and dangerous in the middle of the woods.

When a big, brawny, long-haired man, who only speaks to her in Gaelic and calls himself Raife, simply picks her up and carries her off with him into the Scottish wild, Sibyl knows she’s in trouble.

When he takes her to a place no human has ever been, she knows she’s gone over the edge.

And when he, at last, marks her as his own, she discovers that only one wild heart can claim another.



Excerpt
“What are you doing?” Sibyl protested, but barely had time to get the words out before the big man had divested her of her weapon and had thrown her over his shoulder and began carrying her downstream. “Stop! Let me go!”

Her words were lost in the rush of the water and he didn’t seem to hear her at all as he moved quickly—much faster and more nimbly than she expected of a man of his size—down the shoreline. She beat at his back with her fists, but he didn’t seem to notice that either, and before long, her hands ached. It was like hitting a slab of rock. When he stopped, she lifted her head to look around, noting their position, away from the protection of the tree line now.

And then she heard it. Could he really have detected the sound, so far away? The dogs were barking again. On the hunt. She imagined Alistair telling the story to his men, making up something so he, of course, looked like the wounded hero. Perhaps he would tell them she had been kidnapped by the massive brute who now had her thrown over his shoulder—and really, was that far from the truth? She knew he wouldn’t tell them she had put an arrow through him. That much he would leave out, she was sure. She hoped.

“They’re coming!” she hissed, beating at the human rock’s back again. She hit him in the side, eliciting a satisfying grunt from the man, and did it again, pleased when she heard his sharp intake of breath. “Let me go! They’re coming for me!”

“Bidh modhail!” he snapped, his hand coming down hard on her behind. Sibyl hadn’t been spanked since she was a child and, while it really didn’t hurt, given how much padding she had on under her skirts, the humiliation of it reddened her cheeks and made her instantly quiet.

And then they were flying.

It wasn’t really flying, but it felt that way. He was so agile, so quick and light on his feet, it felt as if he had simply taken flight as they crossed the stream. Behind them, the dogs grew closer. They were onto a scent—likely her own and she cursed herself for not grabbing her hat, which would allow the dogs to pick up her trail—and pursued it with fervor. Sibyl bounced on the big man’s shoulder, squealing at one point, thinking surely he would fall and she would go tumbling head-first to her death onto the slippery, moss-covered rocks, but then they were across, heading into the cover of the woods on the other side.

Once they were a sight distance from the tree line, the man upended her with a grunt, putting her back onto her feet. Sibyl pushed an already tangled mass of auburn hair away from her face and glared up at him. He didn’t smile, but his eyes danced, clearly amused at her stance—hands on her hips, face upturned—and the words that came tumbling out of her mouth.

“You bumbling idiot! You could have killed us both!” she snapped. “I didn’t ask for your help. Do you understand me? I don’t want your help! No! Go! Away with you!”

She shooed him away like an annoying fly but the man didn’t move. He just looked down at her with those devilish blue eyes.

“Goodbye! Mar sin leibh!” She didn’t know many phrases in Scottish Gaelic, but she had learned a few from Moira. Hello, goodbye, please and thank you. So she said the words, hoping he would understand, and from the look on his face, it was clear he got her meaning. “I’m going! Mar sin leibh! Goodbye!”

She turned and stalked off, getting as far as the nearest tree before he grabbed her again.

“Will you stop that?” she cried, pushing at his arms as they encircled her and turned her to him. “No! Chan eil! Chan eil!”

She repeated the Gaelic word for no, seeing the frown on his face at her protest.

“Shh.” He touched a finger to her lips, shaking his head.

“Chan eil,” she objected again, but this time, the word came out in a mere whisper. “No… please…”

“Tha.” His thumb traced her jawline as he looked down at her, the sunlight dappled across his face and chest. She knew the word—tha. Yes. It meant “yes.” Sibyl felt her breath quicken as the stranger traced her lips with one finger, his gaze falling to her mouth, then to her throat, then further down still, to the way her breasts nearly overflowed the top of her disheveled dress.

“Tha,” he said again, lifting his gaze to meet her eyes. So blue. His eyes were so blue. “Yes.”

“You… you speak English?” she whispered, cocking her head at him in wonder. “Who… who are you?”





Selena Kitt is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of erotic romance fiction and erotica. OVER A MILLION BOOKS SOLD! Her writing embodies everything from the spicy to the scandalous.

When she's not pawing away at her keyboard, Selena runs an innovative publishing company (excessica.com). She does bellydancing and photography, and she loves four poster beds, tattoos, voyeurism, blindfolds, velvet, baby oil, the smell of leather, and playing kitty cat.

Her books EcoErotica (2009), The Real Mother Goose (2010) and Heidi and the Kaiser (2011) were all Epic Award Finalists. Her gay male romance, Second Chance, won the Epic Award in Erotica in 2011. Her FREE story, Connections, was one of the runners-up for the 2006 Rauxa Prize, given annually to an erotic short story of "exceptional literary quality," out of over 1,000 nominees, where awards are judged by a select jury and all entries are read "blind" (without author's name available.)

She can be reached on her website at selenakitt.com


Facebook Fan Page: facebook.com/selenakittfanpage

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The ARt of Love- New Release!




The Art of Love by Michele Shriver
Published on October 21, 2014







Chelsea Matthews has a simple dream—travel the country on the art fair circuit selling her hand-crafted jewelry. When her disapproving father refuses to release her trust fund money to support her ambitions, she takes a part-time job in a campus gallery. While counting the days until she can be free of its stuffy confines, an unexpected temptation comes in the form of a sensitive painter.

For Hayden Shaw, having his paintings displayed in the finest galleries is the true measure of an artist’s success. When the pursuit of his goal puts him in contact with the free-spirited Chelsea, his world is turned upside down.

Can two seemingly opposite artists find middle ground and discover the art of love, or will a gallery curator with an agenda of her own undermine both their dreams?




Hayden Shaw stopped and took a deep breath. Whittier Gallery. The name was etched on the door, and underneath that, in smaller letters, Marissa Kincaid, Curator. Was she the woman who would change his life?

A chime sounded as Hayden pulled the door open and walked inside, a portfolio of his work tucked under his arm. He had a pitch prepared as to why this particular gallery should feature his art. That same pitch hadn’t gone over well at the last gallery he visited, but he was undeterred.

A woman sat behind the desk talking on the phone and she gestured in his direction that she was almost finished. Not wanting to eavesdrop, Hayden nodded and wandered in the direction of one of the displays. It featured oil painted scenes of the Boston Harbor, and he couldn’t deny the skill of the artist. Did Hayden’s own work belong here? Was he good enough?

No negative thoughts, Shaw, he chastised himself. Hayden remembered the pep talk his roommate had given him before he left. He had to be bold and confident.

“Sorry to keep you waiting. Can I help you?”

Hayden turned around to face the woman as she stepped out from behind the desk. “I hope so. Are you Ms. Kincaid?” As he studied her face, though, Hayden doubted it. The woman facing him didn’t appear much older than his own twenty years. He doubted she was old enough to be in charge of a prestigious art gallery.

She shook her head and tucked a wayward strand of light brown hair behind her ear. “No. I’m Chelsea Matthews. I just work here.”

“Hayden Shaw.” He extended his hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“What can I do for you?”

“I’m a student here at MassArt,” Hayden said. “I understand you display student work, and I have a portfolio with some pictures of my paintings—”

“Pictures?” Chelsea interrupted, “or paintings?”

Hadn’t he made that clear? Hayden tried again. “I’m painter and I’m interested in having my paintings displayed here. I do photorealism, so they’re paintings based on photographs. I didn’t want to lug the originals all the way across campus, so I brought pictures of them.”

“So, pictures of paintings of pictures is what you’re saying.” Chelsea’s face carried an amused expression, and Hayden wasn’t sure how to take it. Was she making fun of him, or rather his style? Not everyone understood or appreciated photorealism. Maybe this gallery wasn’t the right place after all. Or was she simply trying to joke around? He didn’t always get people with quirky senses of humor.

“I guess you could say that.” He set the portfolio on the desk. “Would you like to see them?”

“I could look at them, but it’s not up to me whether the gallery will showcase your work,” Chelsea said. “Can you leave this so I can show Marissa?”

“Sure. I can do that.”

“Good. She should be back in a little later,” she said. “Can I ask you something, though?”

Hayden nodded. “Fire away.”

“Why here?”

He had the speech prepared as to why he felt this gallery was a good fit, but truthfully it wasn’t much different than the one he gave at the previous gallery. Besides, he didn’t think that was what she wanted to hear. “I’m not sure what you mean?”

“I mean what’s the appeal here? What’s so special about galleries?”

Was she serious? She worked in a gallery, and she wanted him to tell her what was special about them? “I want people to see my work.”

“Then why not display it around campus? In the classroom buildings, stairwells, wherever. People do.”

He knew that. It was impossible to walk anywhere on the MassArt campus without seeing student artwork on display. While it made for an interesting environment, seeing paintings in stairwells, sculptures on the grass and metal works hanging from a tree, Hayden didn’t quite understand why it was such a popular thing to do. “I want people to be able to appreciate my work.”

“Who’s to say that the folks walking down Huntington Avenue can’t appreciate it?”

She had a point, and Hayden was left unsure how to respond. “It’s not the same.”

“You mean you want someone to appreciate it by buying it.” Her lips curled up in a smile. “Am I right, Hayden Shaw?”

She was, and Hayden hated how materialistic she made him sound. He stuck his hands in the back pockets of his jeans and averted his gaze to the floor.

“Oh please, don’t be embarrassed.” Chelsea laughed. “Making money is a noble goal. I certainly want to make money from my art.”

“You’re an artist too?” Hayden regarded her with curiosity. “What kind? Are you a student here?”

“Yes. Jewelry and metalsmithing major.” She reached up and touched the necklace she wore, holding it out for him to see. “I made this.”

For the first time, Hayden examined it. It looked to be made out of Scrabble tiles, spelling out the letters F-R-E-E. Art was definitely in the eye of the beholder, but he found the necklace oddly appealing, much like the woman who wore it. “It’s very unique,” he said. “Are you? Free, that is?”

Mischief danced in her hazel eyes. Pretty eyes, he decided. Not unlike the rest of her. “It depends on the context in which you’re asking.”

“A woman of mystery. I like that,” Hayden said, then wished he could take the words back. The conversation had veered dangerously close to flirting, which probably wasn’t wise given that he hoped to have a business relationship with this gallery. “Is your work on display here?” His eyes scanned the gallery showroom for any cases that might house jewelry.

She shook her head. “No. Galleries aren’t my thing, and my work’s not Marissa’s thing.” She shrugged. “I’m hoping to go on the art fair circuit this summer, after graduation.”

“Art fairs?” Hayden frowned.

“Yeah. You know, like Ann Arbor. Des Moines. Kansas City.”

Why would anyone pass on a prestigious gallery in Boston in favor of the capital of Iowa or a city most famous for barbecue? “Are you from the Midwest?” Hayden asked.

“No. New Hampshire.”

“Then I don’t see a connection,” Hayden said.

“The cities I just mentioned host some of the best art fairs in the country,” Chelsea said. “Surely you’ve heard of them.” She said it as if she expected everyone had.

Hayden shook his head. “Sorry to disappoint you, but no. Art fairs aren’t really my thing.” He didn’t get the appeal of traveling to cities in the middle of nowhere, peddling art on the street. “No offense, but have you considered aiming a little higher?” Okay, so the Scrabble necklace was kind of strange. Some people liked strange.

The amusement that once reflected in her eyes faded, and Hayden knew at once that his words had offended her. “No offense, but have you?” She retorted before turning away from him. “I’ll show Marissa your pictures when she gets back.”





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Michele Shriver writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. In her free time, Michele enjoys football, hockey and reading a good book written by someone else.

Website: www.micheleshriver.com

Blog: http://micheleshriver.wordpress.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Michele-Shriver/241190605939040

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